Sport: Lightning did not strike twice - Barcelona out Champions League

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 14:00

Miracles do happen. But not every six weeks.

And not against this Juventus; not with Giorgio Chellini and Leonardo Bonucci, born to block, at the heart of a defence.

Barcelona are out of the Champions League, with Juventus going through into the semi-finals, and now the recriminations and rebuilding will begin in Catalonia.

They could not over-turn a daunting first-leg deficit, as they did in the previous round against Paris Saint-Germain just a month and a half ago, although there were chances.

Lionel Messi, amazingly, was wasteful.

The game ended 0-0.

It was the first time Barcelona had not scored in Europe at home for four years and they will have played far worse and done so.

But there is – as with that other semi-finalist Atletico Madrid – a daunting beauty to Juventus’s defensive organisation.

In their desperation Barcelona surrounded and harangued the referee who took a hard-line against them and did not shift. Maybe they also paid the price for the way they behaved against PSG with Uefa flexing its muscle.

“Unleash hell,” read the headline in the Turin newspaper which could have been read either way. Certainly, though, the Italians were not cowed. And anyway ‘hell’ was not full. The Nou Camp not at capacity – a sign, maybe, that there was not quite the same level of belief as had overpowered a callow PSG.